Nov 3, 2017
NCGA Week in Review
Several legislative oversight committees met this week as the interim
continues and legislators consider the issues they may tackle in the
upcoming short session. Meanwhile, legislative leaders sparred with a three
judge federal panel over legislative redistricting and whether or not a
special master should be hired to redraw the some of the state’s
Legislative Oversight Committees Meet
Economic Development & Global Engagement
Yesterday, the Joint Legislative Economic Development & Global
Engagement Committee held their first meeting of the interim.
First, the committee received an update from Commerce SecretaryTony
Copeland. Secretary Copeland spoke on the urban rural divide, which he said
has been exacerbated by changes in the agricultural industry and said that
while the state is making progress, job growth is slowing.
The committee then received a presentation from the Economic Development
Partnership of NC (EDPNC), a public-private partnership that serves as NC’s
statewide economic development organization. Chief Executive Officer
Christopher Chung provided an
of EDPNC’s mission, strategies, structure, performance measures and their
goals for 2017.
Finally, Napoleon Wallace, Deputy Secretary for Rural Economic Development
and Workforce Solutions, provided the committee with an
on the work of the Division of Rural Economic Development to attract
investments to rural NC, including specific successful projects.
Education Finance Reform
The Joint Legislative Task Force on Education Finance reform held their
first meeting on Wednesday. The committee, which is chaired by Rep. Craig
Horn (R-Union) and Sen. Michael Lee (R-New Hanover), discussed how state
funds are allocated to the state’s public school system annually.
The committee first received a
from the Program Evaluation Division (PED) of the General Assembly. In his
presentation, Principal Program Evaluator Sean Hamel identified twelve findings across
two sections: allotment-specific issues and system-level issues. NC is one
of seven states that funds schools based on an allotment formula, which
Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) called outdated and complicated.
Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Adam
Levinson then responded to the PED study saying that the state’s system is
due for a review and that DPI will be a partner to the General Assembly
through this process.
Legislative Redistricting Case Continues
The debate over legislative redistricting continued in federal court this
week as Republican legislative leaders, defendants in Covington vs. The State of North Carolina, filed an
to the three-judge panels
order to appoint a
special master. They argued that appointing a special master impedes the legislature’s
redistricting authority and that the legislature should have another
opportunity to redraw the maps instead.
The judicial panel
this request on Wednesday, announcing that they will go through with their
plans to hire Dr. Nathaniel Persily as a special master. The order directs
Dr. Persily, a law professor at Stanford University, to redraw House
Districts 21, which includes portions of Duplin, Sampson and Wayne
Counties, 36, 37,40 and 41 In Wake County, 57 in Guilford County and 105 in
Mecklenburg, as well as Senate Districts 21, which includes portions of
Cumberland County as well as Hoke County and 28 in Guilford County. The
Court believes that House Districts 21 and 57, and Senate Districts 21 and
28 fail to remedy the unconstitutional use of race found in the state’s
2011 maps. Additionally, the panel has concerns that the legislature
unnecessarily redrew House Districts 36,37, 40, 41 and 105. The order
outlines the criteria that can be considered when redrawing the districts,
and states that only those districts, and adjoining districts, may be
Amy Auth, a spokeswoman for House and Senate redistricting chairmen Sen.
Ralph Hise (R-Mitchell) and Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett)
responded to the order, stating that Dr. Persily has “clear conflicts of interest”
and that they are reviewing their legal options.
A Look Ahead to Next Week
Next week, the following legislative meetings will be held:
Monday, November 3, 2017
11:00 AM Select Committee on Strategic Transportation Planning and Long
Term Funding Solutions
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
9:00 AM Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on General Government
10:00 AM Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee